Student Investment

Facilitating the Student Learning Experience

  • Technologies supplement the curriculum by demonstrating concepts you are trying to explain.
  • Each student has different experiences with technology, from the technophobe to the computer guru. Knowing how the technology learning curve applies to each can help you successfully integrate a technology into your class.
  • There will always be a learning curve for some students (as well as for TAs). This will usually be the case if the technology is new, specialized, or non–standard. But all will be well if you:
  • Inform the students at the beginning of the semester what technologies will be used in the course.
  • Do not sugarcoat the experience, but emphasize the advantages. The more pleasurable the extra work is, the less of a burden it will seem, and the more likely students will be to cooperate.
  • Schedule a training session early in the semester in a lab for your students. This way, they will be able to experience the new technology with the help of an expert: you!
  • Share the learning experience. Some students will require that you learn more about the technology to suite their needs.
  • If a student understands the technology better than you, learn from their experience as well!
  • Students have different styles of learning, so you may have to find different practical examples to demonstrate a concept or communicate a principle.
    • Visual learners prefer visual examples like pictures
    • Audio learners prefer examples they can hear such as sound clips
    • Tactile learners like to touch things so you may have to give them something they can hold.
  • Etc.
  • Some examples teach in more than one style such as video clips.
  • "Seduce" your students: give them what they like: music, movies, images… Everything that will lure them to learn!

Explain the Personal Benefits to Students

Students like when they can personally benefit from using a technology. The more they feel a personal stake, the more they often they'll want to use it. Here are some examples:

  • They can reach you (or their friends!) via email if they have questions or want to make an appointment with you.
  • Lectures, handouts, homework sheets, or any other document given in class can be posted online using Blackboard. This allows students to take notes, study difficult concepts beforehand, or keep up if they cannot attend classes. And if your students lose a document or are not in class one day, they can still be expected to do their work.
  • Urge your students to communicate in discussion boards. If some students don't like to use it, you may make it optional. It could still be an opportunity for shy students who are afraid to talk in class to express themselves without any stress.

Attitude Matters

  • Be enthusiastic! “Sell” technology even to the most reluctant students! Show them the bright/fun sides in addition to the useful side!
  • Don't complain about technology — not even once because this may be the only time your students will remember!
  • Never mention the cons of using technology in your classroom.
  • Don't tell them something is "very easy" when students don't get it — or else, they may find you "very annoying".
  • Don't explain too much the pedagogical purpose of some fun technological session. In other words, don't make it boring when it's not and don't explain the whys —just do it well.
  • Use technologies they are familiar with and enjoy. For instance, cell phones may be used in language class! See idea #78 (Using ICD) in Griffith, Nia. 100 Ideas for Teaching Languages. London-New York: Continuum Publishing Group, 2005.
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